Callendar House is a mansion set within the grounds of Callendar Park in Falkirk. During the 19th century, it was redesigned and extended in the style of a French Renaissance château fused with elements of Scottish baronial architecture. However, the core of the building is a 14th-century tower house.
The house lies on the line of the 2nd-century Antonine Wall, built by the Romans from the Firth of Clyde to the Firth of Forth. In the 12th century Thanes Hall or Thane House, located to the east of the present house, was one of the seats of the Callander family who were Thanes of Callander. In the fourteenth century the 5th Thane Sir Patrick Callander, supported the claim of Edward Balliol to the throne of Scotland. Sir Patrick Callander was later attainted and his estates were forfeited.
During its 600-year history, Callendar House has played host to many prominent historical figures, including Mary, Queen of Scots, Oliver Cromwell, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Victoria. The current building is by far the most substantial historical building in the area, with a 91 m frontage. It is protected as a category A listed building, and the grounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.
The House's permanent displays are The Story of Callendar House, a history covering the 11th to the 19th centuries, The Antonine Wall, Rome's Northern Frontier, and Falkirk: Crucible of Revolution 1750-1850, tells how the local area was transformed during the first century of the industrial era.
In the restored 1825 Kitchen, costumed interpreters create an exciting interactive experience with samples of early-19th century food providing added taste to stories of working life in a large household.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.